Tuesday, August 15, 2006

England, Part 4 - North Yorkshire/York

Friday morning, we woke up pretty early, ate breakfast, and gathered together our things. Time to leave the campground. Gina's parents were coming back to pick up the caravan. So we hit the road and decided that we would stop at the halfway point toward Retford, which just happened to be York.

On the way, we drove through part of North Yorkshire Moors National Park. Of course, we drove through it going there as well. But we stopped this time to take a few pictures, of Beck Hole, specifically, which is just a fairly large crater in the ground. I joked that it was the "Grand Canyon of Britain" because it's not even remotely close in scale and size.

After only an hour or so…maybe slightly more, we arrived in York. We found public parking near the Minster, which is the largest cathedral north of the Alps (making it even larger than the Cologne Dom, which is hard to imagine, if you've been there). So we spent some time walking around in there. Most of my pictures were taken inside the Minster. The outside was half covered in scaffolding, which didn't provide good photography opportunities.

After the Minster, we went to lunch at some cafeteria-type place in the shopping district. The shopping district was really nice. I was lured by a bookstore in particular that had really carefully preserved antique volumes. But we didn't stay in that area long. We wanted to see the Jorvik Viking Centre, which was on the other side of town, so we hopped back in the car and drove toward York Castle, where we could park for the Jorvik Viking Centre. On the way, I saw lots of amazing things, but being in the car, could not photograph any of it. *sigh*

So we got to Jorvik Viking Centre, which was in the middle of a posh shopping center, oddly enough, although Mike told me that the Viking Centre was there first. We had to wait in line for a long time. Finally, we got in.

The verdict: cheesy. I thought it was a waste of money. We were put in these little suspended cars that took us through a Viking village that was based on actual archaeological finds in York. There were fake animatronic Vikings all over this little village, and at one point, we got to see one grunting and moaning in a public latrine. Classy. I laughed most of the way through it, because it was so utterly ridiculous. Then we got out of our little cars and went into a room that had actual bones and stuff in it. That was pretty interesting, I must say. After that, we went up the stairs into the gift shop, where they sold plenty of cheesy Viking souvenirs. When we left, I was tempted to tell everyone standing in line to get in that they shouldn't waste their money.

We decided to go home at that point, so I stopped long enough to get pictures of York Castle and then we were on our way.


Saturday was another day off for me. Melissa, her neighbor Jennie, and I went to Sheffield to a huge shopping mall there called Meadowhall. So we spent a few hours there.

And then Sunday, I came home. Lots of drama at the airport, as you can imagine. My lip balm, throat drops, plastic comb, and plastic bandage were confiscated.


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